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Understanding the Distinction between Planning and Building Approvals

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If you are preparing for a knock down reconstruction, land re-development or a subdivision of your land, you will likely be faced with plenty of paperwork. Amongst all the construction contracts, blueprints, insurance and fiscal documents will be your planning application as well as your building approval application. This article tries to make a clear distinction between planning and building approval processes and the role of private certifiers in such.

Planning approvals

Planning is generally associated with the suitability of a development project in a certain area. In instances where both planning approval certification and a building approval certification are needed for a proposal, it follows that the planning certification must first be approved and handed out prior to the building permit.

The planning permit process reviews a specific development proposal against the local council's planning and legislation scheme, taking into consideration the effect your proposed project might have on the site location as well as that of nearby land and the surroundings, for instance, loss of privacy, hours of operation, traffic or safety issues and any effect it might have on the adjacent environment including landscapes and waterways. As part of your workforce, your private certifier will help you lodge a planning approval application to the local council for their approval. Private certifiers have vast knowledge in local and state planning guidelines so they will advise you beforehand whether your proposed project is suitable for the site, and whether it complies with the legislations that may be associated with the land, including height restrictions and so on.

Building approvals

Whereas a planning approval is related to the appropriateness of your development, a building approval basically focuses on the integrity and safety aspect of your project. This entails a review of the building design to make sure the proposed project complies with the building regulations of Australia and appropriate Australian standards. This covers aspects such as fire safety systems and disabled access. Inspections are often scheduled with a registered private certifier as work continues and also when the project reaches its conclusion. These assessments make sure that important structural phases of the project are independently assessed. In effect, this helps to make sure that the finished work is secure and satisfies statewide regulations and city ordinances. In the end, the private certifier issues certificates of inspection to the property owner after the inspections. Then, the property owner can lodge a building approval application consisting of the certifier's inspection certificate to the local council for their ultimate approval.